Talk about an industry ripe for disruption. I mean, here we have an industry with at least 40% unnecessary overhead.
Not the cost of the funeral itself (we all know about that being a ripoff), I’m talking about the process. It’s full of inefficiencies.
Let’s break down a typical catholic funeral. I’m sure other religions have similar practices but I’ll stick to the one I know, and one I was recently a pallbearer for.
- The average catholic funeral lasts about 4 hours from start to finish.
- There were about 100 people who spent the entire time there
Let’s start with the family viewing part.
First, as a family member, you have to get there early so you have some private time to grieve. Now, nevermind that because it’s a catholic service (requiring mass which means certain days are off the table) it’s possible that it has already been 4 days since the person died, which means you probably have been able to grieve with the family for days now.
In Louisiana, this grieving usually also comes with food (and drinks) so by day 4, we have seen a lot of each other.
Secondly, its just immediate family and 30 minutes seem excessive. The person is dead and let’s be honest, who wants that to be the lasting image anyway? In fact, when I die, instead of an open casket, put a picture of me on my cruise when I was 25 where I had 12% body fat and a few fewer beers in my belly. That’s what I want people to remember.
Then, there is usually 25% of the people who, let’s face it, barely knew the person anyway. They are essentially up there trying to figure out how much time is enough time not to look foolish.
So factoring in getting there early and spending too long watching a dead person, I figure you can cut off quite a bit of time. Time saved: 20 minutes.
After the family time, comes the time for the viewing public, in many cases this can be about 2 hours! 2 HOURS! Really!
Listen, shouldn’t we have an app that we can use at this point. People should be able to sign up and view the optimal time for showing up — sort of a combination Uber, Waze, and Disney Fast Pass. Plus, if we had the app, we can upload a live feed of her coffin for those people who wanted to stream it. Heck, we could add social gamification to it which would give our kids something to do. It would be hard to fuss if they were adding heart emojis to grandma nancy now wouldn’t it?
This has all sorts of potential for increased marketing, viewership, and engagement but I’ll leave that to the marketing folks. For now, we’re focused on process optimization and I feel confident we can make this 2x more efficient. Time saved: 60 minutes
Then comes the mass itself, and let’s face it, after now 3 hours of grieving, there is nothing more most of us want to do is watch a priest run his weekly meeting for an hour.
75% of the people there are not religious anyway, so they are sitting there wondering how in the world everyone knows when to kneel and trying to debate if checking their email is against some unwritten rule.
The 25% left who it does mean something too likely recently has gone to their health check (weekly mass) last Saturday or Sunday. In business, we would call these unnecessary meetings. But, I understand the formality so I propose the following.
The church should send out the agenda the day before along with some videos and additional reading material. This would give everyone who is interested time to review and gather up their questions. This should be short because the rules of engagement for religion haven’t changed a whole lot in the last 2000 years.
The priest could then become a glorified scrum leader and just do a quick stand up meeting. Should be 10–15 minutes tops and for a catholic service, that would be a big time saver. Time saved: 45 minutes
Now, what about the deceased, who probably is the one who requested this? Well, news flash, they are dead so would they really know anyway?
Even if you believe in the after-life and they are floating around watching you, do you think that with this new information at hand (you know, after-life and all), they really care about what some normal people are doing?
Think about how distracted you get after a couple of beers and a slice of cake, now multiply that by 10000x.
So there you have it. We’ve saved over 2 hours!!
125 minutes saved of 240 minutes = 52% reduction!
Figuring an average rate of $40/person/hour, that is also a $8,320 savings!
Now, given the number of new customers that are available (literally everyone on the planet), it seems like a great chance for some early adopters!
($8K/person) * (number of people still alive) = a lot of money!
Note: this post was meant to be in humor and not to offend anyone. As I’ve written about the recent passing of my grandmother, I know she would find my ideas humorous, even for her own funeral. RIP Maw Maw Dees.